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Emergency Preparedness, Ethics and Equity Series: How can we ensure equitable access to COVID-19 treatment?
The COVID-19 pandemic — and our response to this disease — have underscored deep, persistent societal inequities. The Emergency Preparedness, Ethics and Equity Series will explore how we can continue to foster inclusive excellence and health equity during the most turbulent of times. Speakers will explore ways to consistently apply culturally relevant, ethical and equitable decision-making so that the most vulnerable among us are not left further disenfranchised post-COVID-19.
- Ralph Baric, PhD, William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of epidemiology and professor of microbiology and immunology, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
Dr. Ralph Baric has spent the past three decades as a world leader in the study of coronaviruses, warning that the emerging coronaviruses represent a significant and ongoing global health threat. The Baric Lab uses coronaviruses as models to study the genetics of RNA virus transcription, replication, persistence, pathogenesis, genetics and cross-species transmission. Dr. Baric works to decipher the complex interactions between the virion and cell surface molecules that function in the entry and cross-species transmission of positive-strand RNA viruses. In 2017, he was awarded a grant for more than $6 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to accelerate the development of a promising new drug in the fight against deadly coronaviruses. The drug also was shown to inhibit multiple other coronaviruses (CoV), suggesting that it may actually inhibit all CoV. In collaboration with industry partner Gilead Sciences Inc., this drug is currently in clinical trials to reverse COVID-19 disease in humans.
- Kizzmekia S. Corbett, PhD, scientific lead, Coronavirus Team, National Institute of Health
Dr. Kizzmekia S. Corbett is the scientific lead for the Coronavirus Vaccines & Immunopathogenesis Team at the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Vaccine Research Center (VRC). Appointed to the VRC in 2014, her work focuses on developing novel coronavirus vaccines, including mRNA-1273, a candidate vaccine against the virus that causes COVID-19. In response to the ongoing global pandemic, the vaccine concept incorporated in mRNA-1273 was designed by Dr. Corbett’s team and rapidly deployed to Moderna, Inc. for FDA-approved phase 1 clinical trial. The clinical trial started only 66 days from the release date of the virus sequence. Moderna has been granted FDA approval for phase 2 studies, begun large-scale production of mRNA-1273 and is slated to enroll 600 subjects in late May 2020. Alongside mRNA-1273, Dr. Corbett’s team boasts a portfolio that includes universal coronavirus vaccine candidates and novel therapeutic antibodies. Additionally, Dr. Corbett spent several years working on a universal influenza vaccine, which is slated for phase 1 clinical trial in the upcoming year.
- Matthew Chamberlin, director of communications and marketing, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health (Moderator)
- Barbara K. Rimer, DrPH, MPH, dean and Alumni Distinguished Professor, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health (Opening Remarks)
Dean Barbara K. Rimer spends every day concerned about issues such as student recruitment and retention, the relationship between practice and research, and inclusive excellence. She believes that diversity, equity and inclusion in public health and at the Gillings School are essential to best serve the needs of diverse communities in North Carolina and globally. She was the first woman and behavioral scientist to chair the National Cancer Institute’s National Cancer Advisory Board. Dean Rimer was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2008 and was appointed by President Obama to serve on the President’s Cancer Panel, which she chaired from 2011 to January 2019. In 2013, she was awarded the American Cancer Society’s Medal of Honor for her cancer control research.